Five crew members of a Sri Lankan fishing boat were rescued by Indian Coast Guard (ICG) off Andhra Pradesh coast three weeks after they lost communication with their vessel owner.

The coast guard which launched a search and rescue operation in response to a request from Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai to locate the fishermen sighted the boat 41 nautical miles off Kalingapatnam on Friday, an ICG release said on Saturday.

The boat, ‘Pearl Ishara-3’, which departed Dondra fishing harbour in Matara Distict of Sri lanka on May 6, had lost communication with the boat owner since May 23.

ICG, Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, Chennai was requested by the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai, to initiate a search and rescue the boat.

After a coordinated search involving ships and aircraft of the coast guard, the boat was found by its ship ‘Sagar’.

The boat was safely towed to Vishakhapatnam and the boat crew would be repatriated on completion of formalities, the release said.

It, however, did not mention why the boat crew lost communication and drifted to Indian waters.

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